Images of satellites show a massive cloud of volcanic ash from the Raikoke volcano in the Pacific Ring of Fire following an eruption on Saturday, June 22. The images taken by the NASA Earth Observatory show the volcanic eruption in the Kuril region of Sakhalin, Russia, near the Kamchatka peninsula. In contrast to some of its constantly active neighbors on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Raikoke volcano rarely breaks out on the Kuril Islands.
The small uninhabited island was last exploded in 1924 and 1778.
The name of the volcano, Raikoke, derives from the Ainu language, meaning "Hellmouth".
The dormancy ended around 4:00 am on June 22 as a huge cloud of ash and volcanic gas shot out of its 700-meter-wide crater.
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One of the images was taken on the morning of the eruption by an Expedition 59 astronaut on the International Space Station.
The picture also shows a ring of clouds at the base, apparently formed from water vapor, NASA officials said in a statement.
Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, said, "What a spectacular picture.
"It reminds me of the classic Sarychev Peak astronaut Photogr Aph of an outbreak in the Kuril Islands about ten years ago.
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The base of the column could be a sign that ambient air is being sucked into the column and water vapor condenses.
"Or it could be an ascending cloud of magma-seawater interaction, since Raikoke is a small island and has probably invaded the water.
Another image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) of NASA's Terra satellite shows concentrated ash at the western edge of the cloud above Raikoke.
NASA stated that ashes contain sharp fragments. It consists of rock and volcanic glass and poses a serious threat to aircraft.
The volcanic ash consulting centers in Tokyo and Anchorage closely followed the cloud of smoke and several of the pilots Notes submitted, showing that the ash has reached a height of 13 kilometers.
In addition to tracking ash, satellite sensors can also track the movement of volcanic gases.
Mr. Carn said, "Regional radiosonde data indicate a tropopause elevation of about 11 kilometers, heights of 13 to 17 kilometers indicate that the eruption cloud is mainly in the stratosphere.
"The persistence of large amounts of SO2 in the last two days also indicates a stratospheric injection."